Yifei Zhu and Joe Peak and Eryn Kelsey Adkins and C. Estelle Smith


Extended Abstracts of the 2024 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Late Breaking Work

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Although prior literature has explored technologies for generally supporting volunteer work, no studies have accounted for the specific and contextually-situated technology needs of animal shelters and the volunteers who keep them running. In this paper, we present a case study in which we: 1) conduct formative work (need-finding surveys, interviews) with a local animal shelter; 2) use an iterative human-centered design process to build a mobile app called FETCH catered to this community’s priorities; and 3) conduct user testing sessions to assess FETCH. We found that during shifts at the shelter, volunteers face challenges with communication and information management. We designed FETCH to help dog walkers with information management between shifts and community development. Users found FETCH practical, effective and accessible; Moreover, the results of this case study can help inform future projects that aim to develop technology for animal shelters and rescues which perform vital services for society and animal wellbeing.